The news is rife with grownups who, when their backs are up against the wall, lie without batting an eyelash to save their sad behinds. Of course they’re all innocent until proven guilty by the slower-than-molasses justice system. But in the court of public opinion? Their guilt is a no-brainer.
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Herman Cain looks to be pulling a trick Bill Clinton introduced us to when he claimed not to be having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. The trick? Semantics! It’s all in the words, you see.
According to both men, sex, when under fire and free-falling into the black hole of public denigration and irreversible damage to their reputations, is narrowly defined as intercourse. Oral sex for Clinton, and fondling a woman’s genitals by Cain are just foreplay, I guess…but definitely not sex. So while they settled upon Webster’s definition “4. SEXUAL INTERCOURSE,” they chose to ignore the previous definition which states “3. the instinct or attraction drawing one individual sexually toward another, or the activities that it motivates.” Clinton recouped his standing on the world stage by finally fessing up. Doesn’t look like Mr. Cain is humble enough to “eat crow.”
Where to begin with the massive web of deceit within which Penn State now finds itself embroiled? At the time current wide-receivers coach Mike McQueary witnessed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sodomizing a 10-year-old boy in the locker room shower. McQueary didn’t intervene, but instead conferred with his father who advised that coach Joe Paterno be told. In turn, Paterno reported it to Athletic Director Tim Curley. Into the mix of accomplices who withheld knowledge of the criminal act of pedophilia and sexual assault of a minor are Gary Schultz, V.P. of Finance at Penn State, as well as its president, Graham Spanier. These adults did not report what McQueary had seen to the police.
Then and now, Penn State worried about its reputation and its football program. The sodomized youngster and those who followed in his wake as victims of Sandusky’s sexual appetite, were simply relegated to society’s land-fill of abused children. The message relayed to the youngsters entrusted to their care by Penn State staff? Adult sexual predators and those who turn a blind eye to their activities can escape punishment…in the interests of the university’s greater good.
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Dr. Conrad Murray, a good man caught up in the make-believe world of iconic Michael Jackson, made the ultimate misstep. Administering the strong anesthetic Propophol outside the safe environ of a hospital, AND leaving his only client unattended while the drug was being dispensed caused the circumstances leading to Jackson’s death. Murray’s explanation for the demise? A yarn spun like that of a novice spider whose web is full of holes.
Image by Raquel Cristina (busy because of beginning of clas via Flickr
According to Murray, Jackson awoke while the doctor had stepped away for 2 minutes to use the bathroom. Somehow in his drugged state, the patient was able to give himself the lethal dose of Propophol. One of Murray’s girlfriends testified to being with him on a cell phone call when he discovered Jackson in distress. And instead of calling 911 immediately which might have saved the singer’s life, Murray called for house security and Prince, MJ’s son. A tragedy made even more tragic when Murray took to covering his missteps, instead of reviving his patient.
Just as the “fight or flight” mechanism is triggered when we are confronted by danger, so too it seems is our immediate attempt to lie our way out of sticky situations. One of the first Golden Rules we teach our children is that they should always tell the truth. Remember the story about George Washington cutting down his father’s cherry tree?
“George,” said his father, “do you know who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the garden? I would not have taken five guineas for it!”
This was a hard question to answer, and for a moment George was staggered by it, but quickly recovering himself he cried:
“I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet.”
The anger died out of his father’s face, and taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he said:
“My son, that you should not be afraid to tell the truth is more to me than a thousand trees! Yes – though they were blossomed with silver and had leaves of the purest gold!”
So when is it acceptable to withhold the truth? Let me answer with my own personal experience.
I was sexually solicited by relatives on 3 separate occasions. They ranged from mildly funny, to downright scary, to pitifully sad and upsetting. I never spoke of these incidents to family members. As the youngest, who would have believed me? Those to whom I might’ve divulged my tales would’ve been angrier than heck, and of course, those who victimized me would’ve denied my accusations as wild imaginings. So what would the truth have gained me? More grief on top of what I was already experiencing. No thanks!
Unfortunately, lies have a way of derailing one’s happiness. Living with the weight of others inflictions upon one’s person, physically and spiritually, can altogether undermine one’s self-esteem. What is one worth if others can exert their will without repercussions. No wonder so many suffer depression, some even resorting to suicide. The rest struggle within themselves, and continue to put up a good fight…like me.
Children are clean slates…upon which adults write the first words. So should we write “Do as I say…not as I do?” Or should we write “Do as I say…and as I do…for I will always try to speak…and live…the truth.”